Avanti Computer Systems Limited, a leading provider of Print MIS and Web-to-Print solutions, announced that Lancaster Ultra-Graphics of Landisville, PA, has been partnering with Avanti and, over the past year, has implemented a streamlined workflow by automating their current manual paper-based system. Ultra-Graphics is now realizing time savings and cost benefits thanks to Avanti’s fully integrated and centralized Print MIS.
Lancaster Ultra-Graphics was founded in 1987 as a pre-press shop. In May of 2000 it added the pre-press business of Alphabet Graphics, thus combining the two largest digital pre-media companies in Central Pennsylvania. Today the company is a regional leader offering the latest in digital printing, photography and pre-press. After carefully evaluating the workflow market, Lancaster Ultra-Graphics chose Avanti’s Print MIS platform. The growing company was looking for a centralized system that was easy for any employee to use and very efficient, ultimately facilitating a much smoother workflow from project input to final delivery. But its highest priorities were better inventory control and cost management.
In order to get this project underway, the company’s board hired Karen Peiffer as Executive Vice-President in 2012. Karen brought with her a solid background in IT.
“I knew that getting a handle on costs was especially difficult in our shop,” said Karen Peiffer. “We really didn’t know exactly where we were making money and where we could improve and be more efficient. So we implemented the most current version of Avanti’s business management software and began using Avanti’s estimating, inventory control, purchasing and order/shipping technology,” added Peiffer.
“We started by documenting our entire workflow and did this the old fashioned way by putting pen to paper, to get a better look at all our processes and obtain more feedback,” said Peiffer. “We were meticulous and mapped out each and every process before automating.” Avanti’s system improved Lancaster Ultra-Graphics’ purchasing and inventory control methods while streamlining and standardizing the estimating process.
One of the biggest challenges that the workflow analysis revealed was an inefficient purchasing workflow. Previously, a purchasing requisition was initiated and went to the production manager for review and approval to ensure that what was asked for, was correct and detail-specific. When jobs were done, they were returned to the production manager – but there was no way of verifying that the details of the job were met. Often, crucial documents were not easily located.
“We were excited to be able to help Lancaster-Ultra-Graphics achieve a much more streamlined workflow,” says Patrick Bolan, President and CEO of Avanti. “By eliminating manual processes including a cumbersome, time-consuming paper trail, they are now able to instantly verify all jobs, from estimating to shipping improving accuracy and refocusing time and resources on more important tasks.”
The Avanti platform made it much easier to track where the dollars were going and how jobs were performing cost-wise. Employees are now able to easily input all relevant project information to facilitate more accurate, final job costing. “Avanti enabled us to analyze all costs carefully,” said Peiffer, “even down to such things as machine productivity, which involves putting the right jobs on the proper equipment to maximize productivity. We even examined how we handle photography – from the time the photos are taken to how they’re incorporated into the design process by our in-shop artists.” The platform has also enabled Lancaster Ultra-Graphics to spend more time doing what it does best – serving its customers and continuing to produce superior products.
“We’re well known for our colour matching expertise, our mastery of variable-data printing, and our exceptional photography,” said Peiffer. “Avanti has given us the ability to better understand and control our costs and project workflow company-wide. This, in turn, has given us more time to concentrate on refining our brand and serving our customers. At the end of the day, we have a streamlined system that brings order to what was previously a chaotic paper system where documents would get lost or misplaced,” she added.